A land of extraordinary beauty and belief, of spirit and story, history and hospitality, Israel is nothing short of entrancing. From hip, happening Tel Aviv to the stunning scenery of Upper Galilee, the ancient, crumbling ruins of Tiberias, the Biblical town of Nazareth to Jerusalem, the City of Gold, there’s plenty here to keep you entertained for a couple of weeks or more. We have some super engaging guides to accompany you throughout your travels or specialists to join you in specific areas.
Known as the Holy Land by Jews, Christians and Muslims across the world, a trip to Israel is a chance to encounter a land of dazzling contrasts, complexities, and contradictions. Whilst Tel Aviv forges ahead – a bustling city of cutting-edge tech, bold Bauhaus architecture, laid back beaches and a liberal dose of hedonism – Jerusalem retains an air of mystery. Hallowed landmarks are sprinkled liberally across Jerusalem’s Old City and the Dome of the Rock shrine, the mediaeval Western Wall, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, are major draws for many visitors. Then there’s the West Bank which reveals yet further historical treasures to peruse.
For a relatively small nation, Israel is extraordinarily diverse and the heady scents of the spice markets, the delights of Levantine cuisine and the sound of the call to prayer drifting over golden spires, will engage all your senses. There’s plenty of opportunity for adventure too, not least in the desert where, over the millennia, numerous civilisations have lived. We’ll be sure to add plenty of colour to your itinerary so that, besides the main sites, you’ll get to experience the kaleidoscope of Jewish life, whether that’s through mingling with the crowds at the Western Wall on Shabbat or sitting down to dinner with a local family.
Wix Squared has some exceptional guides to get you under the skin of the country including:
- Art historians to take you through the history and development of art in Israel with visits to truly outstanding museums and galleries
- Members of the intelligence community to uncover the secrets of the country’s geo-political situation
- Foodie enthusiasts with whom to sample the plethora of offerings at Mahane Yehuda and other markets and to discuss Israel’s culinary trends
- Academics to show you different perspectives on each region through visits to private homes and diverse neighbourhoods
- Specialist guides with intimate knowledge of Israel’s melting pot of religions
- Adventure guides to take you hiking, mountain biking, camel riding or on a desert expedition
- Friendly locals to introduce you to everything from secret artisan workshops to Tel Aviv’s legendary nightlife
- Expert guides to accompany you off the beaten track to discover the history and current day reality of kibbutz life
Itinerary Starting Price
From £5,000 per person, for 7 days including accommodation, private guiding, entrance fees and private transfers (not including flights).
At 0.2 km below sea level, The Sea of Galilee is the lowest freshwater lake in the world.
Layla Lavan, or the Tel Aviv White Night, is an annual evening of revelry on 30th June with concerts, beach parties, special exhibitions and tours continuing well into the small hours.
What to Eat
The traditional Middle Eastern sandwich, falafel, and salad in a pita bread, is still almost ubiquitous. Visit Abu Ghosh for authentic Lebanese/Yemenite salads where the grills are also hugely popular.
What to Read
Jerusalem, The Biography, Simon Sebag Montefiore’s masterful history of the Holy City focuses on the struggle between the Abrahamic religions, tracing the city’s story through the lives of its inhabitants.
What to buy
Freshly ground Mediterranean spices are available in outdoor markets up and down the country.
The most exclusive address in the city, the King David Hotel has welcomed guests through its doors since 1931. Within walking distance from the Old Town, its extensive grounds and pool area are a huge draw. The David Citadel is a close runner up in a great location and slightly further afield is the American Colony Hotel, which is a tranquil, colonial-era oasis where courtyards enclose palms and trickling fountains. For something more contemporary, we love the Mamilla, whose rooftop restaurant looks over the Old City walls.
Tel Aviv’s hotel scene ticks all boxes. Here, you will find large, facility-filled, seafront hotels such as Royal Beach and the David InterContinental, as well as heritage properties like crusader fortress The Setai. Just down the street is The Jaffa, a historic former hospital and monastery whose arched colonnades and hefty stone walls are juxtaposed with slick modern interiors designed by John Pawson. We also favour some stylish boutique properties including the Hotel Montefiore, The Norman, 65 Hotel Rothschild 65 and The Drisco located in the city’s coolest neighbourhoods.
Kibbutz guesthouses dot the landscape of Israel’s northern reaches and a few nights’ stay is a great chance to experience the local hospitality, wholesome food, and informal atmosphere. For traditional accommodation, Scots Hotel, set in beautiful gardens with unrivalled views over the Sea of Galilee, is steeped in history. Established by the Scottish Church in 1999 in the historical compound of the Scottish Hospital, it’s surrounded by relics from the Roman and Byzantine periods. The Setai in Tiberias also deserves a mention.
Deep in the starkly beautiful Negev desert lie two pioneering properties. The original Beresheet Hotel sits on the edge of the Ramon Crater, its rock-clad walls blending seamlessly into the dramatic scenery surrounding it. Offering similarly panoramic views over the rolling dunes is the newer Six Senses Shaharut. The organic farm supplies fresh produce, and all 60 suites and villas, many with private pools, are furnished in the brand’s signature style.
Art & Architecture
Flamboyant and eclectic, Israel’s flourishing art scene covers everything from the dazzling Islamic mosaics at the Dome of the Rock to spirited street art, rich in symbolism. You’ll find it on and in structures ranging from Roman ruins dating back 4000 years, Crusader fortresses and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to the trendy Bauhaus architecture which gives Tel Aviv its moniker, the White City. Through meetings with local artists in their studios to specialist architectural guides and private access to rare archaeological sites, we’ll show you the best the country has to offer.
One of the world’s most family-friendly nations, Israeli’s welcome children with open arms and there’s no shortage of suitable activities for younger visitors. Miles of coastline boasts wonderful, well-staffed beaches with excellent facilities while interactive museums will keep young minds engaged. Hands on excursions to take part in live archaeological digs or farm visits where kids can milk goats and make their own cheese are also possible. Our highly experienced guides come armed with treasure hunts and quizzes to keep everyone entertained along the way.
History & Religion
For many, a trip to Israel is a pilgrimage to bring alive Biblical history and walk in the steps of Jesus. Visit familiar sites such as Nazareth and Bethlehem, the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane and follow Jerusalem’s Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Discover the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, and Masada Fortress, as well as numerous archaeological sites, which are significant to Israel’s two other principal religions. Modern and living history can be studied at the moving Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum or through a visit to the Ultra-orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods.
Where food is concerned, Israel excels, inspiring culinary legends such as Yotam Ottolenghi. On every corner there’s another praise-worthy eatery, professing to have the secret combination of ingredients for its hummus, falafel, or halva. A mélange of influences, the dining scene in the major cities is dynamic and exciting, the emphasis firmly on fun and flavour, not a white tablecloth in sight. We can arrange chef-led market tours, cooking classes and meetings with food historians or local food bloggers to shine a light on the vibrant stories of this sizzling cuisine.
The region’s complexities cannot be overstated, but by meeting the people who live there and seeing it first-hand, we’ll ensure you leave with some fascinating insights. Besides trips into the West Bank to meet both Palestinians and Jewish settlers and hear more about the tensions between them, we can arrange encounters with local activists, journalists, academics, and young soldiers from the IDF. We can even organise for you to visit the Gaza envelope where you’ll learn about the day-to-day realities of those who live there.
Travellers seeking an action-packed itinerary will be in their element here. We can organise multi-day adventures where you’ll bike, hike and even rappel through the country’s most dramatic scenery, stopping off at historical, cultural, and gastronomic highlights en route. Head out into the desert for a jeep or camel safari, surf Tel Aviv’s best waves, kayak on the River Jordan and even learn about counter-terrorist techniques. Down south, you can snorkel and dive in Eilat or enjoy a mud bath and take a dip in the Dead Sea.
With less than an hour’s flight or short road transfer between them, Jordan is an obvious destination to combine with Israel. Both countries offer fascinating historical, cultural, and religious insights into the Holy Land. An abundance of ancient monuments, Biblical sites and busy cities await.
The direct flight from Tel Aviv to Hong Kong bridges the gap between the Middle East and Asia. Spend a few nights enjoying the very best of this oriental metropolis before heading on to some of the world’s best beaches.
A shared land border makes Egypt and Israel a great travel pairing, not to mention each country’s treasure trove of ancient wonders. Once you’ve absorbed all that Israel has to offer, you can cruise the River Nile and marvel at the Pyramids of Giza and the Statue of the Sphinx.
If there’s one thing Israeli’s love, it’s a good party. Naturally, Tel Aviv, Israel’s city that never sleeps, opens all sorts of possibilities for a celebration, complete with tantalising menus from world-class chefs. Thinking outside the box is what we do, and we have a wide range of contacts who can help us plan alternative, exclusive setups in altogether spectacular settings.
Perhaps a private dinner in the middle of the desert, or an al fresco barbecue on the sandy shores of the Mediterranean or maybe even a five-course dinner and wine tasting at a bucolic vineyard, hosted by the vintner himself.
Find out more about Events by Wix Squared
Israel is a more or less year-round destination, experiencing a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and cool winters. The country’s topography means that certain highland areas, such as Jerusalem, can be wonderful in mid-summer although in Tel Aviv and the south, the intense heat makes travelling less comfortable.
We suggest visiting in spring (April and May) or autumn (September to November) when you’re still likely to experience plenty of sunny weather without the extreme heat.
- At this time of year, the temperatures are on the cooler side with rain likely and certain parts of the country experiencing snowfall.
- Despite the cooler temperatures, this is an excellent month for hiking, as long as you don’t mind getting wet. Wildflowers cover the green hills of Judea, Galilee and the Golan Heights and many sites are tourist free.
- While temperatures are beginning to rise, they are still quite cool, and you are likely to experience some rain. Another good month for hikers.
- As spring arrives, the weather becomes more pleasant with plenty of sunshine and rising temperatures, although the evenings can still be chilly. Pools and beaches are open to the public, and the festivals of Easter and Passover draw large crowds, so these times are best avoided.
- This is an ideal month to visit. Spring has arrived, bringing with it plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures. The chance of rain has diminished, crowds are rare, and the scenery is stunning.
- The temperatures begin to rise rapidly in June, with long days of hot sun. As Jewish travellers arrive for the summer holidays, things get busier and Tel Aviv’s beaches fill up.
- Long, hot days continue, making travelling less comfortable. Cruise ship season is in full swing, with passengers joining the already busy summer crowds.
- Summer temperatures remain at their highest and Tel Aviv is hot and humid. The south is also extremely hot while the north, including Jerusalem, is drier and more pleasant.
- Temperatures will now begin to drop again making travelling more comfortable. The crowds diminish and there’s little chance of rain. Don’t forget that the country grinds to a halt for the New year and Yom Kippur. Dates vary between mid-September and early October.
- With temperatures still around 19°C, October continues to be a good month to travel. The milder weather brings a full programme of country-wide events, guaranteeing plenty of entertainment.
- November is still a great month to visit, despite the falling temperatures. After the long summer months however, the countryside will be dusty and brown. Towards the end of the month, cooler winter weather returns with the possibility of rain.
- Winter weather fluctuates between mild, sunny periods, heavy rain and even snowfall. On average, the temperature remains between 10°C and 15°C.